The Eli Manning of Soccer (or Something)

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
June 23 2010 3:07 PM

The Eli Manning of Soccer (or Something)

The U.S. soccer team owes its victory over Algeria today in large part to a phenomenal 50-yard throw by starting goalie Tim Howard. The toss, which landed at the feet of Landon Donovan in the 91st minute, sparked a breathtaking sequence that ended when Donovan tucked the ball into the corner of the net. (Check out the highlight reel on this page .) A few minutes earlier, Howard had let loose an even longer throw that nearly gave the United States a similar golden opportunity.

After the game, I scoured YouTube for some other examples of great goalie throws. But the only thing I could find were some great bloopers. There's this one , in which the goalie throws the ball into his own net. Then there's this one , in which the goalie throws the ball off the back of a teammate's head. But there are no real highlights. Is it possible that Howard's Hail Mary to Donovan was the best goalie throw of all time?


It very well may be. And despite the fact that it won't be viewed millions of times on YouTube this week, like say, Cristiano Ronaldo's circus-act goal against North Korea might, Howard's throw was a huge reason why the United States finished atop its World Cup group and is moving on to the round of 16.

It's days like these that make me happy many American soccer players were weaned on football, not fútbol

The June 14 issue of Sports Illustrated featured a roundtable interview with all three U.S. goalies, in which they were asked why American keepers were better than England's.

"People say it's because we grow up playing basketball and baseball and American football," backup Marcus Hahnemann said. "Guys in England play cricket, so they get some hand-eye coordination, but watch them try to throw an American football and you realize they don't quite have it."

As John Madden might say of Howard: You talk about a guy who can throw the fútbol .

Alan Siegel is a writer in Washington, D.C. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter.



The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer


Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.


Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.